Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Eid Al Adha

Last night, December 18th, was the start of the Islamic Feast called, "Eid Al Adha." This is the "Feast of the Sacrifice" which commemorates Ibrahim's (Abraham) willingness to sacrifice his son to God.

The feast lasts 4 days. I wrote about accompanying my friend and her mother in shopping for new clothes for the children for the feast. It is traditional for the children to be given new (especially nice) clothes for the Eid.

Here is a link to a Wikipedia Article on Eid Al Adha

Some excerpts from that article:

Men, women, and children are expected to dress in their finest clothing to perform Eid prayer (Salatu'l-`id) in any mosque. Muslims who can afford to do so sacrifice their best domestic animals (usually sheep, but also camels, cows, and goats) as a symbol of Ibrahim's (Abraham's) sacrifice.

According to the Quran a large portion of the meat has to be given towards the poor and hungry people so they can all join in the feast which is held on Eid-ul-Adha. The remainder is cooked for the family celebration meal in which relatives and friends are invited to share.

The regular charitable practices of the Muslim community are demonstrated during Eid ul-Adha by the concerted effort to see that no impoverished Muslim is left without sacrificial food during these days. Eid ul-Adha is a concrete affirmation of what the Muslim community ethic means in practice. People in these days are expected to visit their relations, starting with their parents, then their families and friends.

I have been present for the Eid al Adha (and the other primary Islamic Feast, the Eid Al Fitr, which ends the month of Ramadan, when Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset). Both feasts are times of great joy and celebration. The primary activity is visiting ones friends and relatives. Special food is prepared and shared during every visit. These cookies are one of the specialties for the Eid. (They are also prepared by Arab Christians for Christmas and Easter).

Date filled Eid cookies

Here are two photos from a few years ago of me making these cookies with Azmi's mother, wife and sister:

I'm sorry to be leaving Jerusalem at the start of the Eid. I would have enjoyed staying to celebrate with my Muslim friends here. But, Alas, I need to get home to prepare for Christmas, which is coming up fast!

Eid Mubarak to all my Muslim friends! May it be a joyous and peaceful time.

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